What’s ALICE and How Can it Keep Maine Kids Safe from Violence?
A Maine school has decided to adopt a safety protocol known as A.L.I.C.E. after a student threatened another by claiming to have a gun.
What was the Situation in Maine?
These days, the world is often filled with scary things, with none quite so frightening as an active shooter situation. And the worst is when a school is targeted. Being a teacher or administrator has taken on a whole new risk, with the possibility of protecting students in active shooter situations.
In Cumberland, this week, a student at Greeley High School was placed in handcuffs after allegedly telling another student he had a gun and threatening them. Police were called and a search was conducted in the building but, in this case, no gun was discovered. However, it's prompted administrators to adopt the A.L.I.C.E. safety protocol being used in many Maine schools.
What is ALICE?
A.L.I.C.E. is an acronym that stands for:
Alert - Letting someone know if you think you've seen or heard something suspicious. Don't wait. Go immediately to a person in authority and tell them what you know.
Lockdown - Students and staff are advised to enter their classrooms to lock and barricade all entrances. Stacking desks and other furniture in front of the door will help deter a shooter.
Inform - Call the police and use the public address systems and/or cellphones to keep everyone in the building informed of the shooter's position. This will also allow people in certain areas of the school to know when to safely evacuate if a single shooter is in another portion of the building.
Counter - This step is not about fighting, but rather, creating movement, noise, and chaos to throw a shooter off-balance. If confronted, do whatever is possible to stay safe, including running, throwing things at the shooter, or anything else that could deter his/her progress.
Evacuate - This one is self-explanatory. When it's safe to do so, get out. Remove yourself from the situation and walk directly to a safe location, which would probably be behind the line of police officers outside the building.
What's the Benefit of the Training?
Active shooter training works in the same way fire drills dispel panic in the case of an alarm. It's important, in advance of an emergency, to know what to do and how to protect yourself. A.L.I.C.E. could also be a great training tool for your place of work. We hope it never actually has to be put to use in a Maine school, but feel better knowing the students and staff are prepared to handle it if it ever becomes a reality.